Word Warriors: Four Years of Words Worth Reviving

Every year, Wayne State University releases a list of ten words worth reviving in the new year. Here, learn selected words from 2009-2013.

Update: Check out " Wayne State Word Warriors Words to Rescue, 2014-2015 Edition" for more.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. antediluvian
    of or relating to the period before the biblical flood
    Though antediluvian by today's standards, the buggy whip was once at the forefront of transportation technology.
  2. bamboozle
    conceal one's true motives from
    Stop trying to bamboozle me out of my money!
  3. bloviate
    speak verbosely and windily
    I was totally put off by the winning coaches' tendency to bloviate ad nauseam.
  4. charlatan
    a flamboyant deceiver
    This guy claims his anti-aging cream really works, but I think he's just a charlatan.
  5. indefatigable
    showing sustained enthusiasm with unflagging vitality
    The English privateer Francis Drake was indefatigable in his pursuit of Spanish gold.
  6. insouciance
    the cheerful feeling you have when nothing is troubling you
    We spent our two weeks at the beach in blissful insouciance, sleeping late and basking in the sun.
  7. mendacity
    the tendency to be untruthful
    Mendacity is a system that we live in.
  8. mercurial
    liable to sudden unpredictable change
    She said she needed a break from trying to anticipate my mercurial moods.
  9. quixotic
    not sensible about practical matters
    Many cherished ideals of the 1960s now seem more quixotic than even remotely practical.
  10. unctuous
    unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating
    The mediator was so unctuous that both sides found him impossible to work with.
  11. Draconian
    imposing a harsh code of laws
    I hear the government is considering draconian penalties for those who leak classified documents.
  12. ossify
    become bony
    Bert felt as though if he waited for Alice any longer he was just going to ossify right there on her doorstep.
  13. paroxysm
    a sudden uncontrollable attack
    Leonard was surprised, to say the least, when his pledge of love sent Emily into paroxysms of laughter.
  14. penurious
    excessively unwilling to spend
    Gloria had tons of money, but she was so penurious that her mom had to live her last years in a crummy cold-water flat.
  15. Schadenfreude
    delight in another person's misfortune
    Those of us who had weathered the barbs of Spiro Agnew were treated to an exquisite taste of schadenfreude at his downfall.
  16. erstwhile
    belonging to some prior time
    Roger had disturbing reasons to suspect that Rachel, his erstwhile lover, had hacked into his email accounts.
  17. execrable
    unequivocally detestable
    Alice may have a Ph. D. , but her spelling is execrable.
  18. frisson
    an almost pleasurable sensation of fright
    Albert knew he’d be glad to see Victoria, but he wasn’t expecting a powerful frisson of pleasure when he took her hand.
  19. parlous
    fraught with danger
    ” Prospects for Yazoo City grew increasingly parlous as the Mississippi’s record flood rolled southward.
  20. penultimate
    next to the last
    Everyone’s heard of the Last Supper, but the Penultimate Supper has been largely forgotten.
  21. supercilious
    having or showing arrogant superiority to
    I knew I was about to go into the tank socially when I noticed the supercilious way she was looking at my red shoes.
  22. transmogrify
    change completely the nature or appearance of
    So Gregor drifted off to sleep, never dreaming he was in a Kafka story and would transmogrify into a hideous insect overnight.
  23. mawkish
    effusively or insincerely emotional
    To her surprise, Beth found Robert’s words of love to be so mawkish that they made her feel sticky, as though she were being painted with molasses.
  24. persiflage
    light teasing
    Emma hoped to get Lady Astor into a serious conversation, but as long as the King was around she could elicit only persiflage and gossip.

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